Monday, February 15, 2010

Farm animals

No, these are not our goats. They belong to a neighbour on our regular walking route. Whenever they hear us coming (which is easy, since their dogs start barking, and then Frankie starts barking, and if you're within a 2 km radius you can hear us coming) they poke their heads out the door to have a look at what's causing all the excitement.

We thought about having goats ourselves, primarily for their milk. We had visions of yogurt and goat cheese. Imagine having your own source of local, organic, freshly made goat's cheese to enjoy whenever you like. But then we started reading about goats, and we learned they're quite a bit of work.

First of all, you need two, because they need company. You probably want female goats, if it's the milk you're interested in. Besides, male goats can be smelly and hard to handle. Since goats need to be bred every year to produce milk, you need to arrange for a visit from an amorous male goat, and you need to be prepared for kids. Goats usually produce one or two kids, which means you could end up with four of them. And, according to one source we read, if you want the mothers' milk for yourself, you should never let the kids suckle.

Hmm... You now have between two and four kids that need bottle feeding a few times each day from the time they're born until they are weaned a few months later. Plus, you're milking the mothers twice a day for that milk you're so interested in. Then you have to either find homes for the kids, or, especially in the case of female kids, keep them yourself, which means more potential offspring in the future. Have you ever heard of exponential growth?

On top of that, we had to consider where to keep them (we'd have to build a new shed, big enough for two) and what to feed them (we have only a bit of grazing land, which means buying feed, which changes the whole cost-benefit-analysis). It was at this point we decided maybe goats weren't for us - at least for now.

But a that's an idea.


Paula said...


Rae said...

Just wondering... Did you ever give more thought to raising a pig? They're lots of fun. :)

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